Feb 20 (NYDN) A Sri Lankan reporter shot in the neck at home last week said on Wednesday that the government had since given him protection and urged his supporters not to "rush into conclusions" over the attack.
Faraz Shauketaly, an investigative journalist at the privately-owned Sunday Leader newspaper, was shot on Friday night in an assassination attempt linked by some to his reporting on alleged graft in the energy sector.
Rights groups have condemned the attack, saying it was the latest in a series of attempts to intimidate and silence the country's independent press.
Shauketaly said in a statement that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse was now providing him "adequate protection".
The 54-year-old journalist added that "it would be unfair and inequitable to rush into conclusions" about the attack until authorities completed their investigation into the incident.
His newspaper said the shooting brought back memories of the assassination of its founding editor, Lasantha Wickrematunge, who was gunned down in January 2009 while driving to work.
Rights groups say at least 17 journalists and media workers have been killed in the country in the past decade. Many Sri Lankan journalists have also fled the island fearing violence.
The country is currently ranked 162 out of 179 countries in the press freedom index compiled by the Paris-based non-profit Reporters without Borders.
Sri Lanka lifted a state of emergency in 2011, but media rights groups say journalists have been forced to self-censor their work due to fear of attacks.